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Volume 2 Issue 4“Building Confidence”April 2004



Memberships have been brisk in April, welcome to our newcomers. I hope you take the time to surf our site, follow the links and get familiar with what we have available to you, all at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse. For definitions of most construction words see our Construction Dictionary.

What's New

Check out our new article: Remodeling 4: How to Frame a Wall - the basics on installing a wall in a basement or building a new wall when framing a house.

Ask Away!

Some of my latest questions I have answered:

Hi Dave,
I've started my 12x16 shed (see
and have a question about roof framing and sheathing. None of the books I have
on roof building is clear on what is done at the eaves, for instance, should the
plywood overhang the end of the rafters and by how much, and in what order the
other components (fascia, drip cap, felt etc) are installed. The roof pitch
is 12 in 12, about 12" overhang at the eaves, and no overhang at the rakes.
Thanks, Pete

Hi Pete,

Drawing showing how to start shingling a roof.

The plywood sheathing should be flush with the rafter or truss trimmer and
covered up by the fascia. The roofing shingles then extend over the fascia,
at the eaves by 1 1/2" and over the barge board at the rakes by 1". The barge board
also covers the end grain of the sheathing. The roofing felt is flush with
the end of the shingles. The shingles overlapping by 1 1/2" will bend over
the fascia and into the gutter.


Dear Dave, The last time we corresponded you had given me advice about "bouncy stairs" in my sons remodeled old house, and since the span was about 16' or so, we cut two more 2x12 stringers, glued, and nailed them to the outside of the staircase, to join the existing double stringer already in place. We also took your advice and placed a small wall under the quadruple stringer that is about 4' long beginning at the foot of the stairs. This almost completely eliminated any deflection, even with me hopping down the stairs. Thank you........ now for another question.... We enjoyed remodeling my sons house so much that we, my son and I, have bought a house that was built in about 1912, we found a newspaper in the walls dated from that year. This house is a story and a half... steep roof....small narrow upstairs room running the length of the house. We had plans of popping out the roof to make this huge dormer (on both sides) in order to increase the sq. ft. upstairs. When we removed all the lath and plaster in the house, we discovered that the ceiling joists were only 2x6... more like 2"x5 1/4". The span is 13' on one side of the down stairs supporting wall and 8' on the other, and right now it doesn't seem bouncy upstairs, but we are not sure of the joist size. If we have to change the joists, should we remove the roof completely and just add a second story? We are planning to resell this house when we are done, and the neighborhood will only justify about $85,000 tops, so unless were planning to live in it, we can't go hog wild. What would you suggest? P.S. I'm more interested in doing the right thing, than making a buck..... heck...I just like doing something with my son. Thank you, Dan What a great letter!! Hi Dan, You really have to be careful adding another storey. The ceiling joists have to be changed for floor joists. Some old houses like that don't have a footing under the foundation wall. The studs in the walls may be spaced further than 16". For a 13' span the floor joists should be more than a 2x6 alright. You may be better to talk to an engineer just to be sure. When you pop the roof off, inspectors may take notice, this requires a permit. Once in your house they have the authority to make you bring the thing up to standard or certain parts of it. Something to think about. Dave
Dave, I am currently in Afghanistan with the US Army, but I have been bitten by the Carpentry bug, having had to build quite a bit of stuff to make life livable over here. The only tools I own are a Dewalt circular saw, a cordless drill, a hammer, and a level. Do you have a recommendation (looking into a table saw right now) for tools, both hand and power for simple home projects. I am looking to build a bookcase or two, and entertainment center and a workbench/reloading bench for the garage when I get back. Also, any books on the subject you could recommend would be great, I am definitely interested in making better products, over here it has been pretty rough finding decent nails. Thanks. JP Hi Justin, I've selected the most used woodworking tools in my tool box My favorite hammer is a 20 oz. straight claw Estwing. My handsaw is an 8 point for average jobs. If you do mainly finishing work, go for a 12 point. I seldom use a handsaw these days with having a reciprocating saw. You should have a 24" level, at least, with 36" and 48" optional, depending on what you do. Framing Square and combination square Nail set Utility knife: I like the break-off blade type, they are always sharp. Pliers: I use these for tying re-bar or for general purpose. Nail Claw: For removing common nails. Tin snips Chalk line in a box: One of the best inventions made. String line Block plane Jack plane: For a hand tool this will be one of the most expensive. A belt sander may do to replace this tool. I very seldom use a jack plane anymore. I choose the belt sander instead. circular saw: 7 1/4" is a must for any tradesman. Belt sander Drill: 3/8" electric is the basic. For a real toy check out the rechargeables. I have a 14.4V and am happy with it. Test the 18V before you buy, it has a lot of torque-hard on the wrist. Get one with the keyless chuck. Router: I have a 5/8 HP router that I use as a portable and laminate trimmer. I use the 1 1/2 HP router as a 'shaper' mounted under a table. Jigsaw: Just a basic model is all you need for light work, usually 1" stock. For lots of work in 2" stock get a band saw. Tablesaw: My son-in-law has this model and he uses it as an on-the-job portable while installing siding. It cost him almost double the price of's. I've got an old Delta 9" that's about 25 years old for the shop and a lightweight Delta for the job site. One thing to keep in mind is that you can use some portable power tools as stationery ones. You can put a belt sander in a vise. You can screw a circular saw under a bench or piece of plywood to act as a table saw use a 1x3 for a fence and clamp it to the table, etc. Can't find nails, eh? That's a good one. Of all the things we work with over here, we don't think anything of hopping in the car and getting a couple pounds of nails. Over there it is a different story. What tools do you have over there with you and what are you building? I built a set of cabinets for a local, in Northern Canada while on a camp job, years ago, with a circular saw and a router, plus my hand tools. I mounted the saw upside down on a piece of plywood, sat it on two saw horses, used a straight edge for a fence with c-clamps. That was my table saw. I made a jig for the router to dado grooves in the gables to hold the shelves. They turned out pretty good. Its being able to be innovative with what you have. Let me know if you need any help trying to build something with nothing. I've done that before. Ever bump into any Canadians over there? I'm from British Columbia on Canada's West Coast. Look after yourself, Justin. Dave (see also
I have to repair some stucco damage around the outside of the house due to water coming up behind the stucco.. How can I get a good match(color) and how do I go about getting started..? Color match is a tough one, even for the pros. Color is dependent on the Portland cement used, the color of aggregate and the texture of the finish. Try mixing some samples first to see how they dry to get a feel of it. In some areas, check with your local dealer, they have premixed quantities of stucco in the popular colors. Allow for fading of your color depending on its age. If the damage is done to the sheeting, repair that, of course and apply any missing tar paper, a special vapour permeable, water resistant paper. There is stucco lath applied to the sheeting, over the paper, with furring nails or self furring lath with dimples. This keeps the lath about 1/4" away from the surface to allow the first coat, the scratch coat, good penetration and coverage of the metal lath protecting it from corrosion. This lath also acts as a reinforcment. The scratch coat is applied about 3/8" thick and left evenly sratched providing a good mechanical key for the next coat. Ater 48 hours, the second coat or the brown coat which again is 3/8" thick is applied to a dampened scratch coat and is left with a rough surface for the final or finish coat which is colored and textured at least 1/8" thick. The three layers give a total of 7/8" minimum thickness. Each coat should be kept moist for at least 48 hours with a gentle fog mist sprayed on them, not soaked just damp, not allowing the coat to dry out. The brown coat should be left to cure for 7 days before the finish coat is applied. Dampen the brown coat before applying the finish. Dave

Well, that's about it for this issue. Keep those questions coming, I need material for this newsletter!

Hope this helps to build confidence so you, the spouse and kids can do that family project you have been putting off.


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